Government unveils new data system for superannuation assets
The Assistant Treasurer has announced a new information-sharing system with the ATO designed to give family law courts greater visibility of superannuation assets when making property orders.
In a joint statement with Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer, Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert announced that as part of the Women’s Economic Security Package, the Coalition government will provide $3.3 million to the ATO to develop an electronic information-sharing system.
The information-sharing system, he said, will help “ensure the family law courts have better visibility of parties’ superannuation assets when making property orders”.
The Women’s Economic Security Package, announced by Kelly O’Dwyer earlier this week, comprises a raft of measures aimed at supporting women’s economic independence and improving their economic recovery when critical life events happen.
The new information-sharing system, he said, is intended to make it easier to identify lost or undisclosed superannuation assets.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said getting full visibility of superannuation assets in family law matters can be complex, time‑consuming and costly, “often requiring parties to go on ‘fishing expeditions’ using subpoenas and other formal court processes, with no guarantee of success”.
“This new system will ensure faster and fairer resolutions of family law property disputes.”
While parties to family law proceedings are legally required to disclose all of their assets to the court, including superannuation, said Ms O’Dwyer, in practice, parties may forget, or deliberately withhold, information about their superannuation assets.
“The non-disclosure of superannuation assets can often disproportionately disadvantage women due to a significant disparity in superannuation savings between men and women,” said Ms O’Dwyer.
“A lack of financial disclosure by a former partner can result in women receiving a smaller share of property than they would otherwise be entitled to.”
Non-disclosure of assets in family law proceedings can also delay cases, she said.
“A recent study by the Women’s Legal Service Victoria found that two-thirds of clients surveyed faced delays caused by a former partner failing to make the necessary financial disclosures,” she said.
According to the joint statement, the electronic information-sharing system is set to commence on 1 July 2020.